The International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) has just marked its anniversary, celebrating 75 years of continued service to the global credit insurance, surety and guarantee industries.
ICISA was established on April 1, 1928 as the International Credit Insurance Association (ICIA), creating the world’s first association for the credit insurance industry. Founding members were:
Cobac (now Euler Cobac) of Belgium, Credito y Caucion of Spain, Eidgen íssische of Switzerland, Hermes of Germany, Siac (now Euler Siac) of Italy, Sfac (now Euler Sfac) of France, NCM (now Gerling NCM) of The Netherlands, and Trade Indemnity (now Euler Trade Indemnity) of the UK.
Surety underwriters have been joining as members since the 1950s. In an effort to facilitate further communication within the global insurance industry, ICISA opened its membership to reinsurers of credit insurance and surety in 2000.
The growing importance of the surety’s role in the association was confirmed when the International Credit Insurance Association (ICIA) changed its name to ICISA in 2001.
The goal of the association is to provide a forum for the exchange of experience and information, to represent the common interests of its members by facilitating action and representing the industry on an international level, including at other multinational organisations, and to study questions relating to credit insurance, surety, and reinsurance.
Within the last few years, ICISA has been instrumental in the adoption of a new standard (XBRL) for the electronic transfer of financial data. XBRL was developed jointly with other leading financial services providers, and has now been adopted as the international standard.
ICISA has many ongoing initiatives, including continuing to study the effects of (in particular US) corporate failures on future underwriting practices globally.
ICISA works closely with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The Guide to ICC Uniform Rules for Contract Bonds & Model Forms was created jointly with the ICC, and has been adopted as the global standard.
The continuous education of members in risk projection models, and recommendations in arbitration provisions for purposes of reinsurance contracts, are two examples of projects within ICISA that continue to inform the member community.
The monitoring of, and advising on, EU legislative proposals regarding insurance intermediaries, and representing members” concerns and interests in front of the Basle Committee are examples of essential projects ensuring member’s business issues are heard internationally. In this regard, ICISA has recently raised issues concerning the proposed new international accounting standards.
ICISA continues to advise members on a variety of EU legislative initiatives, such as the revision of the directive concerning consumer credit, data protection, solvency margins of insurance undertakings, the simplified EU legal framework for collateral, the winding up of insurance undertakings, and action plans for SMEs and e-commerce.
Working with other international and multinational authorities is essential in today’s global marketplace, claims the body. ICISA works continuously towards a level playing field for surety insurers on public contracts around the world, and is a promoter of the ICC’s uniform rules for contract bonds, it says.
Members” interests are represented by ICISA in front of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (Uncitral) as well.
ICISA is continually involved in structural initiatives globally. ICISA has participated as a founding member of the International Surety Association (ISA) enhancing efficiency and with the aim for joint projects with other ISA members, namely the surety associations of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the US.
ICISA was instrumental in the establishment of the International Institute for Practitioners in Credit Insurance & Surety (Ipcis), which stemmed from a need for professional qualification in credit insurance and surety. Ipcis is a distance-learning university based two-year programme. The mission of the school is to promote knowledge and professionalism in the theory and practice of credit insurance, surety underwriting, and investment insurance throughout the world. The first 80 students of IPCIS hope to receive their diplomas in 2004.